How Divorce Affects Children & How To Ease The Transition

No one begins marriage only to see it end in divorce.

Yet, the divorce rate in America is still between 40 and 50%. This translates to approximately 50% of the kids born in the United States will experience divorce before they reach the age of 18.

There is no doubt divorce has a major impact on children. Children from divorce are more likely to face major life challenges than children whose parents stayed together.

Is Divorce Bad For Children?

Divorce is not always bad for children, however, they may be affected by the change in their lives physically, emotionally, and educationally.

The Physical Effects of Divorce on Children

Children whose parents have divorced are more likely to experience a wide variety of physical impediments including injury, asthma, headaches, and speech impediments than children whose parents have remained married. They are also more likely to develop health problems.

Nutrition can also fall by the wayside in this difficult time.

Ensure your children are still eating enough protein and fruits and vegetables.

Divorce Can Take an Emotional Toll on Children

This is the big one. Parents are often unaware of the emotional impact divorce has on children.

Many internalize it or are too young to verbalize it.

Divorce is hard on everyone and often the parents are so caught up in their own emotional turmoil that the kids’ struggles go unnoticed. Children are more likely to have psychological problems and are more likely to commit suicide.

Monitor your children closely during the divorce process. The effects of emotional trauma can vary by age group as well:

  • Young children will wonder why they keep moving from home to home, and if their parents still love each other, or even love them.
  • Children in grade school may ponder if the divorce is their fault.
  • Teens may experience a multitude of emotions including anger and depression. They may also utilize blaming to identify the reasoning behind the divorce.

A Child's Education May be Changed by Divorce

It’s hard to concentrate on school when you’re being shuttled from household to household for joint custody. Add in emotional and physical trauma from the divorce and education falls by the wayside.

Children of divorced parents are twice as likely to drop out of high school. These kids tend to have lower-paying jobs and fewer college attendance rates.

A sudden slip in grades can also be a sign of an unknown emotional issue your child is experiencing.

Although These Statistics are Grim, There is Hope

Obviously, if there is physical or emotional abuse, divorce is always better than staying together. Likewise with antagonistic relationships.

No kid wants to see their parents constantly fighting.

Divorce happens. It’s a fact.

Now the question becomes: how will you handle it?

How to Mitigate The Effects of Divorce On Kids

  1. Cooperate: Child custody battles are brutal on children often with parents pitting kids against each other! Despite the pain, you may be in, you have to put the children first. It is your job as a parent to do what’s best for them. Never use your kids against your ex. Never speak badly about your spouse in front of the children.

    And never do something that’s not the best for your children just to spite your spouse. Be the adult!
  2. Minimize the shuffling from house to house: This plays a big part in education. How can your children learn when they left their homework at Mom’s house and now they are at Dad’s?

    Children need stability and routine. Strive to establish this and stick to it!
  3. Keep their lifestyle as much the same as possible: Often with divorce, financial hardship incurs. This is often inevitable. However, if at all possible, allow your children to keep attending the same school, keep doing their extracurricular activities such as sports, dance, and gymnastics, and keep disciplining them!

    Don’t let them get away with murder because you feel sorry for them. Children need structure, stability, and support in order to thrive. And whatever you do, don’t get rid of the pets!!
  4. Take new relationships slowly: Children are naturally wary of strangers and that’s what your new love interest is in your children’s eyes. Expect your children to be extremely resistant to your new relationship and expect it to take months for any kind of bond to form.

    They may still be dealing with the break-up of their parents. Don’t expect trust to come immediately.
  5. You are still in a relationship with your ex-spouse: You are still a parenting team and always will be. There may be decisions (like medical and spiritual) you may still have to make together.

    Act unilaterally for your children’s best interests.
  6. Emphasize the divorce is not their fault: Children internalize things and some children mistakenly believe they did something to break mommy and daddy up.

    Constantly reinforce the break-up was between you and your spouse only.
  7. Listen to your children: Children will react differently to divorce but one thing is certain: they will experience an array of emotions: sadness, guilt, fear of abandonment, anger, loyalty concerns, anxiety, grief, depression, and confusion.

    Let them express this. Reassure them. Don’t lie to your kids. Be open and honest with them. Answer their questions. Be the sounding board they need.

    After all, they didn’t ask for this in their lives. Help them to adjust and accept their new life.
  8. Love them: We all love our kids. Especially in the immediate months following a divorce, make sure your children know they are loved. Tell them. Show them. Hug them. Support them.

How The Law Office of Jon J. Olinger Can Help In Your Divorce Transition

Here in our Fort Wayne office, lawyer Jon Olinger will put your children first. Our goal is for the least amount of disruption possible to your children’s lives.

We will provide step-by-step guidance to the divorce process, educate you on the legalities of child custody as it pertains to divorce proceedings, and fight for the best interest of your children.

Let us handle the nitty-gritty of child support issues, which can be quite complex and confusing.

Attorney Olinger cares.

With years of experience in the Fort Wayne area, his mission is to provide the best customer experience possible. From the moment you call our law office, your needs come first.

We strive to establish a personal relationship with all of our clients, treating them as a member of our family. We’re here for you even after our professional relationship has concluded.

Contact us at (888) 488-4005 to schedule a $50 and confidential case evaluation.